WHY TO AVOID BABY WALKERS
Koramangala, Bengaluru Feb 24, 2017
The rationale for the use of walkers appears to be primarily as a child-care device. Every parent knows well the inquisitive mind of the crawling infant. Once infants start to crawl, they are able to thoroughly investigate their previously inaccessible world: exploring every available inch of floor space, and on their journey testing every found morsel in their path to see if it is food. For this reason, and perhaps with a desire to see their child reach the walking milestone,(premature walking) parents are placing their infants in what is now considered to be a very dangerous piece of childhood equipment, called WALKER
The another reason for providing walker to infant is primary care givers(mother) wanted to do their personal and household work without disturbance from the infants so to avoid infants they provide walkers.
The use of walkers to prematurely assist infants to assume erect posture, should be discouraged both as a potential cause of trauma, of frequent finger amputation and also poor neuromotor development outcome.
Some parents may incorrectly think that the use of a walker will help their child learn to walk. This notion has been shown by research to be incorrect. In fact, studies indicate that infants who use these devices may actually develop locomotor problems due to the establishment of a faulty walking pattern.
The typical posture by infants in walker will be
- Half sitting in walker—erect standing posture will not be maintained poor Biomechanics of complete posture.
- They try to move more with the toes, because of this heel strike wont be seen and this leads to tightness of Tendoachilles and in later stage of development the child will walk only on toes and will lead to locomotor disability
- Every attempt of infant to move in walker will create confusion in the growing brain of the infant, because when an infant starts standing and moving the complete foot should be placed (ie) full weight bearing, next when moving child either will PUSH or PULL. In the walker because of multiaxle wheels the child will be moving in all directions(front,back & sideways),which is against the normal motor learning .development
IN OLDEN DAYS THE INFANTS WHO ARE READY FOR WALKING WILL BE PROVIDED WITH TRICART. THE ADVANTAGE OF TRICART IS IT ALLOWS THE INFANTS IN STANDING TO BEAR COMPLETE WEIGHT IN THE SOUL OF FOOT WHICH IS CORRECT BIOMECHANICS OF FOOT. THE SECOND ADVANTAGE IS IT HAS GOT WHEELS WHICH MOVES FRONT AND BACK SO NATURALLY THE CHILD WILL PUSH THINGS(CORRECT MOTOR DEVELOPMENT) WHICH WILL ASSISST THE CHILD TO MOVE ONLY FORWARD WHICH IS THE NATURAL NEURO MOTOR DEVELOPMENT.
use of infant walkers alters the mechanics of locomotion, thereby inducing substantial mechanical errors in the walking process
Spinal development may be affected by prematurely forcing a child to assume the erect posture and to walk with the assistance of a walker. Because a young child has not yet developed the appropriate bone strength and the necessary muscular coordination to maintain erect posture, prematurely encouraging such activities may be inappropriate.
The use of baby walkers has yet another potential problem. An infant who is placed in a walker during the crawling phase of motor development may be missing out on an important developmental skill. Studies of childhood development indicate that an early infant crawling experience is positively reflected in later motor skill development. A study by McEwan et al., showed that infants who did not crawl scored lower average performance scores on pre-school assessment tests. These findings would appear to support the hypothesis that early crawling experience is important for the development of the body's sensory and motor systems and for general motor skill development.
Canada has already banned the use of baby walkers. The American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a recommendation to parents that baby walkers should not be used.
R.K. SENTHIL KUMAR MOT(Paed); M.Sc(Psy)
HEAD OF REHAB BANGALORE & KRIPA VELLORE
A SHREE CENTRES FOR ADVANCED ADULT AND PEDIATRIC REHABILITATION